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Influencer Marketing: A Research Guide

Metrics and Cost

Quantifying the impact of influencer marketing requires finding common measurements used in social media and figuring out the cost of hiring an influencer. This page links to websites, databases, and books for more information on metrics and cost. At the bottom is a list of platforms for tracking influencers.

Metrics

Harris & Ewing, photographer. Man with a Riefler pendulum clock, the primary standard for time interval measurements from 1904 to 1929. 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Metrics, or methods of measurement, can be used to quantify the success of an influencer before deciding to hire them or the success of the promotional campaign. There is no one best metric; instead, measuring the return on investment of a marketing campaign should be based on the goals of the campaign and the context of the influencer.

For example, metrics like number of views can be useful if the goal is awareness, but the number of views should be in relation to the audience of the influencer. When hiring an influencer, or pitching yourself as an influencer for hire, it is important to use a variety of quantitative and qualitative components that best match the brand and the brand's goal.

Common metrics include:

  • Number of account followers or subscribers
  • Reach = number of people who saw a post (can include followers and nonfollowers)
  • Engagement = number of likes, comments and shares (retweets, repins)
  • Engagement rate (by post) = Total engagements on a post / Total followers * 100
  • Engagement rate by reach = Total engagements on a post / Reach per post * 100​

Below are list of resources for researching metrics in influencer marketing.

The subscription resource marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Cost

According to the Activate 2018 State of Influencer Marketing Study [PDF] External ("Two Sides of the Same Coin: Exploring the Brand and Influencer Relationship in Influencer Marketing"), most influencers are paid with a flat fee for creating and publishing content or with in-kind services such as a free product or service. Actual costs vary and depend on the brand, the influencer, and the campaign. A few sources give some insights into how much is spent on influencer marketing.

The subscription resource marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

The following title links to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog.

Platforms for Tracking Influence

Social media platforms display metrics for each post, some that are public but some that only account holders can see. There are also a variety of social media management companies that charge for their custom analytics and the ability to compare and track multiple accounts at once. 

The subscription resource marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.